Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tragedy in Burma

The scale of death and devastation in Burma defies description. The Daily Telegraph, citing the military rulers of Burma, say as many as 65,000 people may be dead, after Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck the very densely populated Irrawaddy River delta region and Rangoon (former capital and the country's largest city) this past weekend. The fact that the famously xenophobic and isolationist Burmese miltary junta is officially asking for international help is itself testimony to the scale of this disaster.
The final death toll is likely to go higher. There is little fresh water, and the transportation facilities to move what supplies there are have been destroyed. Both food and water aid, and the means to move and distribute them, are needed. The situation may be worsened by the unwillingness of the dictatorship to allow foreigners to actually distribute aid or operate in the country -- there are reports the government is holding up visas for aid workers. Jesus have mercy on this unhappy place.

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